Free Olympic events and last-minute tickets

Olympic Park opening ceremonyWith the Olympics underway, here's everything you need to know about getting last-minute tickets and how you can watch for free.
The Olympic Games have started and for those of you desperate to be there in person see the action, there are still ways to do so.
Despite all the fuss when tickets initially went on sale, some cheaper tickets remain unsold, mostly for the football tournament. As of today, there were still tickets on sale on for the opening ceremony, but they will cost you at least £1,600 (and that's for a restricted view seat)!

It's worth checking the official website regularly as tickets are still being released for sale or resale.

How else can you get tickets?
If you can't find something you want, or your chosen sport has sold out, you also have the chance of securing tickets by going another route. All of the countries taking part in the games are allocated a certain number of tickets and these are generally only allowed to be sold to people living in that country.

However, this changes when it comes to the European Union because member states can sell tickets to citizens from any EU country. This means if you're a British citizen you can buy tickets through another EU country's website and a full list of participating 're-sell' sites can be found on the London 2012 website.

If you don't want to pay to see the Olympics, there are free events you can go along to.

Road cycling
Although you'll need tickets to the London 2012 BMX and Track Cycling events which will take place at the Velodrome, and the Mountain Biking, which will be held in Essex, you can still watch the road cycling and you won't need a ticket.

The outdoor events take place between 28th July and 1st August and the races start and end on The Mall, with the route heading across Putney Bridge and around Box Hill in Surrey. The only part of the race where you'll need tickets is along The Mall, but get to the other spots early if you want a good space as thousands of people are expected to turn up.

A detailed map of the route can be downloaded from the Olympics website.

The Olympic marathon takes place on the 5th August for women and 12th August for men and and it's another event where spectators can watch the athletes for free at viewing spots along the race track. As with other events, it starts and ends at The Mall and the route goes along the river and does a loop around St Paul's, Bank, Aldgate and Tower Hill.

This event will take place in Hyde Park, on the 4th August for women and the 7th August for men, starting and ending at the Serpentine. The major viewing spots, such as Buckingham Palace where the bike route will pass, are ticketed, but it's possible to watch the events for free in Hyde Park.

Race Walk
The race walk, which is a bit like power walking around a route, is another free event – unless you're in the prime start and finish location of The Mall. The men's event takes place on the 5th August and the women's on the 11th August and it's free to watch if you're in the area of the track outside The Mall (as shown on the map).

Be prepared
If you want to watch some of these outdoor events, make sure you arrive early and come prepared.

Given the recent weather we've had, check the forecast before you travel. The travel situation is expected to be chaotic so check your journey before you set off on the Transport for London website and leave a lot of extra time to get to your destination.

Refreshments will be expensive so my advice is to make your own food to avoid overspending on the day. Information on security and what items you can take into the events can be found on the main website.

If you can't get to London
The BBC has set up big screens across the country to let people watch the games. It's free and screens can be found in locations such as Festival Square in Edinburgh, Exchange Gate in Manchester, Humberstone Gate in Leicester and Armada Way in Plymouth. A full list of venues can be found on the Big Screen website.

The best-paid Olympians
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Free Olympic events and last-minute tickets

Estimated worth: $300 million

Worth: $300 million

Worth: over $100 million

Worth: $90 million

Worth: $30 million

Worth: $259 million. Had David Beckham been selected for the Team GB squad to play in his home city this summer, he would have jointed the ranks of the best-paid Olympians


The article has been updated.

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